>”18 is new & arbitrary”:
‘Alexander of Macedon was 16
when he won his first battle.
We may be most aware of
but do not forget the edges of the
Bell curve, and never doubt
human ingenuity and experience,
even in the very young…’
Brian’s book Clockwork Excerpt Part #2:
…Clouds skudding by a crescent moon,
showers of illuminated spray, a rumbling ocean,
an overworked windvane, Mai Miti is being sent.
Braced in the cockpit, my hands gripping the
twin stainless handholds either side of the hard
dodger, my leeward foot is locked horizontally
to the motion and there’s an abundance of miles
to be had. With half a furled jib and scrap of
mainsail, Mai Miti forges across a million
wavetops reveling the hard thirty-knot breeze
by throwing aside blankets of exploding spray
I can’t help but think if I were aboard an Open 60
that could make upwards of 400 miles a day
solo with these conditions. That would
be 2,300 to Mauritius in 6 days with an easy
350-mile a day average versus the 17 it would
take on Mai Miti. Something akin to a 300%
increase in speed and power! But for the price
of a million dollars.
I’m a hopeless romantic and slave to progress.
To rip across this ocean on the fastest wind
powered solution that technology permits
would be finding the harmony of Jonathan
Livingston Seagull. To see the Great Wandering
Albatross dashing over wave tops in the height
of a gale is the meaning of perfection to me.
One day in the not distant future, a French
15-year-old female model with a background
of cruising experience to bear would embark
with a Formula-1 Open 60 program to boot,
and obliterate the record in three months,
perhaps finishing before her 16th birthday!
Of this I have no doubt.
My future daughter ?!
For me, becoming the youngest to circle
was the means to find my way back to
the sea and myself.
At time of publication, “Orange 2’s” crewed
50-day circumnavigation mark is reality.
Bruno Peyron did much too further ignite
my imagination on his global promotional
tour for “The Race” to Tahiti. Crewing aboard
the 1st Jules Verne Trophy winning –
“Commodore Explorer” that circumnavigated
in 79 days from Hawaii to French Polynesia,
I saw the future at 31 knots boat speed and
consecutive five-hundred mile days.
The day the local Hawaiians can embrace
this future will be a revolution. There is a
tremendous interest in the exploits of the
traditional wood sailing canoes that colonized
the islands from Polynesia. To correlate this
love with the horizon of a new day will create
a whole new generation of seaman and foster
the dreams of speed in the minds of the islands’
racing teenagers weened off cult-movies such
as “The Fast and the Furious” and “Blue Crush”.
If you took Club Med or any 600 mile a day
multihull back in “the day”, of the
voyaging canoes and clippers-
they wouldn’t say-
“No, we’ll stick with our 100 mile a day relic
and run out of provisions to honor tradition!”
I don’t think so. It’s not too difficult to imagine
how fast they’d embrace evolution with eyes
So it’s with these thoughts I nursed Mai Miti
onwards. I think sailing around the world
alone is more a voyage toward yourself and
the 27,000-mile geographical course is simply
‘the distance to here’. The longer it is, the
harder it gets, the more it teaches you about
To me this abundance of free time is bliss.
But ignorance can be bliss too. This lifestyle
is nothing short of a curse. It’s no less potent
than a drug. Once you’ve been down this
watery road there is no turning back.
Life ashore resigns you to long for and dream for
the day when you can find liberation and your
way back to the mermaid. Life becomes oriented
to scheming for the places, hardships, gales,
sunsets, beaches, and memories of faraway
exotic ports and moments.
At least the people that haven’t experienced
it don’t know what they’re missing. In Buddhism
they say that all human suffering is caused by
desire and longing. But that said, much as the
saying about it being better “to have loved and
lost than to not have loved at all”, I agree.